THE SITUATION: I was going to talk about this issue before the election, too, but like I said, I didn’t want to be overtly partisan in my blog (lest I alienate either or both of my readers) and I couldn’t really think of anything to say except “Electing Republicans will be really bad for democracy because they’ll learn that obstructionism works.”
Which is what it boils down to.
For the past four years, but to a much greater extent, for the last two years, Republicans in the congress have participated in the most brutal, scorched earth example of campaigning-by-pretending-to-govern in American history. They left us no doubt about what their plan was, why they were doing it, or what they ultimately hoped to achieve. Rush Limbaugh said the day Obama took office he wanted him to fail. Mitch McConnell said his primary focus for the next four years was ensuring that the president didn’t get re-elected. And because of the way that the levers of power in Washington work, Republicans simply reached out and switched off the lights. If they weren’t in power, nothing was getting done.
The kindest light to put this in is that Republicans genuinely believed that in stopping the president’s agenda, they were doing what was right for the country. The unkindest light is that it was a cynical ploy to attempt to hinder the economy through government action, and expect that the president would pay the political price in 2012. There’s truth to some of both of these extremes, but I think that, as with most things in life, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I think that Republicans basically intended to say “no” to every one of the president’s proposals, which they saw as negative so that they would be on record as the party that had valiantly opposed him, and by doing the right thing in the face of stiff opposition, they would be rewarded by the voters.
Whatever the real idea behind the gridlock in Washington, it did not work. The president was re-elected, and the Democrats picked up even more seats in the House in 2012.
WHY IS THIS BETTER FOR THE NATION: Imagine if it had worked! Imagine if one party had managed to win an election by blocking the government from working. What do you suppose the losing party would have done then the next time? And the losing party the next time? Fundamentally, if you wanted anything to ever get done in Washington again, you didn’t want the Republicans to be rewarded for stonewalling. I think, and, again, this is going to be hard for conservatives to hear in this light, but give it a little time, that Republicans losing will force the two parties to begin working together in the future, less they face this kind of angry electorate again.
(If you got to this page by mistake, the main article is here.)
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
Enter your e-mail address in the box below and click "Subscribe" to join Stephen Kozeniewski's Mailing List for Fun and Sexy People. (Why the hell would anyone ever want to join a mailing list?)